15.7 In the Mordovian Camps

No 15 : 31 August 1970

[1]

Issue 14 of the Chronicle has written about the murder of Baranov [see 14.11, item 15] in one of the Mordovian camps. This took place at one p.m. on 3 May. Baranov, who was mentally ill, darted out of the psychiatric block of the Dubrovlag central hospital (the block, No 12, is situated next to the living zone of camp 385/3-1) and rushed towards the off-limits fence area. The guards opened fire on him from a watch-tower. Eleven shots from a sub-machine gun were fired, of which not less than five hit their target – the last two being fired at him when he was lying wounded and motionless, with the obvious aim of finishing him off.

This was seen both from the hospital and from the camp. On the next day, 4 May, more than fifteen people refused to go out to work. [Lev] Kvachevsky, [Vyacheslav] Aidov, Yurkevich [comment 15], [Shahen] Arutyunyan, [Hovik] Vasilyan, Ekimyan, [Paruir] Airikyan, Navasardyan, Ashikyan [see 16.4], Gandin, Fedotov, Lisnyak, Belorussky and Vasilyev declared a three-day strike of protest at this wanton killing of a mentally ill person.

The Dubrovlag Procurator was sent statements demanding an urgent investigation and the punishment of the culprits. Aidov and Kvachevsky sent appeals to the USSR Procurator-General, and Yurkevich wrote to the Party Central Committee. The three of them were tried and despatched to Vladimir Prison. Arutyunyan and Vasilyan were each given seven days in the camp prison.

On 5 May several people declined to take part in the strike, but that same evening Jan Lutbars died, an elderly Latvian recently discharged as “fit” from the hospital. The strike flared up again. More than forty people took part…

After this two Armenian soldiers, Ruben Davidyan and Genzel Derbinyan, refused to perform guard-duty on the watch-towers.

[2]

At the beginning of July 1970 there was a hunger strike in Camp ZhKh 385/19 in protest against an intensification of the camp regime. Twenty young political prisoners took part. Stepan Zatikyan who is serving four years, sentenced in 1969 in connection with the Armenian newspaper Paros; Vasily Kulanin who has an eight-year sentence in the UNF [Ukrainian National Front] case; and Nikolai Dragish and Nikolai Tarnovsky, sentenced in 1965, who have seven and six years, respectively, for organising a Marxist group in Odessa, were despatched to Vladimir Prison. Hunger strikes protesting at this decision began in two zones where the order for their transfer to Vladimir had been read out to the prisoners.

[3]

After spending three years in Vladimir Prison Mikhail Goryn [Gorin] and Mikhail Masyutko have returned to Zone 17A of the Mordovian camps.

[4]

In Yavas on 18 August the trial took place of Alexander Ginzburg. He was charged with taking part in hunger strikes and with being a bad influence on the prisoners.

On 25 August A. I. Ginzburg was taken to Vladimir Prison. The strict regime has been prescribed for his first four months there.